Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 17 February 2016) . . Page.. 531 ..
We see the start of the decline in the sense of pride in the community. It is overwhelming for home owners when they see no end to the late night graffiti vandalism night after night. As I spoke about earlier with the broken window theory, we start to see people stop trying. The areas become more neglected and uncomfortable, and it is happening here in our own city.
Under the Labor-Greens government, addressing suburban graffiti vandalism has not been done properly. I am afraid many residents will have to continue to put up with areas of untidiness, roughness and potential unsafeness. The government’s approach to street art and legal graffiti is a totally separate matter, it is used as an excuse and it distracts from proper solutions. Until the government recognises this, changes the approach to its $750,000 graffiti management program, which I have been led to believe exists, and realises it is ineffective, ratepayers will continue to suffer damage to their sense of place and to their hope.
MS FITZHARRIS (Molonglo—Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research, Minister for Transport and Municipal Services and Assistant Minister for Health) (4.18): I thank Mrs Jones for putting forward this motion about graffiti on public and privately owned assets today, including, in particular, residential fences such as those along Hindmarsh Drive. I hope this motion today provides an opportunity to inform those opposite and those in the community about the work that we undertake. I am happy to prove Mrs Jones wrong on this account; we are certainly not ignoring this problem. I hope over the next couple of minutes to go through the range of actions and programs that the government has in place to ensure that we both prevent graffiti and encourage street art in our city.
Graffiti is a serious concern across our city, as it is across cities all over the world. It does detract from amenity and enjoyment in our public spaces and does do serious damage, costing thousands of dollars each year, to public and private property. In fact, illegal graffiti costs our community, through the ACT government’s budget, over $500,000 a year to remove; and that is not including both private businesses and private home owners who also have to remove illegal graffiti. This is a problem we recognise, and we are taking active measures to prevent graffiti in our city and to ensure that it is removed when it occurs.
I am pleased to let Mrs Jones know that we are implementing a range of measures to provide a solution to this problem and manage graffiti vandalism across all assets in the ACT, both public and private. To capture this activity and to recognise the work that has been done by our hardworking TAMS officers and others, I will be moving an amendment to the motion to highlight the actions the ACT government is taking to deal with this problem.
As I said, the government spends half a million dollars annually on removing graffiti from the public realm. This financial year, the government has allocated an additional $250,000 to focus on prevention and removal measures aimed at providing a sustainable response to reducing the incidence of graffiti, particularly on private assets.